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post #1 of 12 Old 08-15-2019, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Spreading dirt to slowly fill low areas?

I have a few slightly-low areas of the yard that I might try to raise slowly. I've read that if you put down, say, 1/2" of dirt, the grass may survive, and grow through it. Letting you gradually build up that area, without necessarily needing to re-seed it (because you covered the grass in 3" of dirt), or maybe do something more-involved, like till the soil and re-seed (I don't have a tiller).

I have a tilting utility trailer for picking up composted dirt from the town, my lawn tractor (which will pull the trailer), an aerator (probably not helpful), a dethatcher (possibly helpful?), and a lawn roller.

Just curious if there were suggestions for how to use my available equipment to make the process easier. Not sure if I could, for instance, drop dirt onto a few areas, then use the dethatcher like a rake to help spread it around. Maybe raising the dethatcher a bit.

I realize this may sound silly, sorry. But people here have lots of experience and ideas, and hey, it's more fun to use available equipment, vs just doing it all by hand.

I've seen mentions that you can use a drop-spreader to help distribute dirt. Not sure how well it works. I don't have one (I have a push broadcast spreader), but I could keep an eye on CL for a cheap towable one.
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-15-2019, 01:22 PM
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Re: Spreading dirt to slowly fill low areas?

I did that to about 6 low spots in my yard, it takes a while for the grass to grow through it. It would probably be quicker to throw some seed on top to get some grass. I wasn't in any hurry for the grass to grow so i'm waiting.

In my yard grass always grows where I don't want it so I pretend that I don't want it there.
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-15-2019, 03:45 PM
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Re: Spreading dirt to slowly fill low areas?

I've done that before. It will take a few years but is attractive because it's not a big project, the grass matches, and has a low up front cost. I would not try loading dirt in a drop spreader. Even fine screened dirt is going to have some pebbles and clumps that will ruin your day. Also would not roll after spreading the dirt. Grass will root out and up better in loose soil. It will settle naturally.
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-15-2019, 05:16 PM
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Re: Spreading dirt to slowly fill low areas?

If the spots are small (or large, with much more ambition), you could cut the sod out or just peel it back, fill underneath it, then lay the sod back down.
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post #5 of 12 Old 08-15-2019, 05:22 PM
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Re: Spreading dirt to slowly fill low areas?

if the hole has grass in it i rake in fine clay dirt around a inch at a time to pull the grass up to the top

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post #6 of 12 Old 08-16-2019, 10:32 PM
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Re: Spreading dirt to slowly fill low areas?

I've tried the little at a time idea, but have since gone to fill in completely, re seed with a little straw on top. Keep it damp. In a couple weeks, you'll see the grass growing. Mow when it is pretty thick and tall. In a month or two the job is done for good.

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post #7 of 12 Old 08-17-2019, 12:30 AM
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Re: Spreading dirt to slowly fill low areas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by steddy View Post
If the spots are small (or large, with much more ambition), you could cut the sod out or just peel it back, fill underneath it, then lay the sod back down.
Agreed. Ive done this and will do some more this fall. It works well with a flat shovel or sod cutting/edging tool. Always add more fill dirt than You think. It compacts over time. Water immediately afterwards.


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post #8 of 12 Old 08-17-2019, 02:04 AM
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Re: Spreading dirt to slowly fill low areas?

In the fall, I had a large area I wanted to raise up about 6 inches. I had a 6 wheel dump truck with 5 cubic yards of topsoil back up into the backyard where I wanted to build up. He rigged his tailgate and when he raised the body he took off spreading the 5 cubic yards of topsoil. When he was done I paid a kid to level it out. Drive the tractor over it back and forth to pack it down. Seeded, put 10 10 10 fertilizer down, and straw. Grass came up after two weeks. I seeded again in the spring with my aerator/spreader attached to the tractor.

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post #9 of 12 Old 08-18-2019, 08:59 AM
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Re: Spreading dirt to slowly fill low areas?

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Originally Posted by My craftsman 917.27308 View Post
In the fall, I had a large area I wanted to raise up about 6 inches. I had a 6 wheel dump truck with 5 cubic yards of topsoil back up into the backyard where I wanted to build up.
Most of the companies around me won't go off the pavement, (road or driveway) with their trucks. Too many problems, soft lawn, septic fields, and LAWSUITS! Even the local guy in a mason dump, with three yards of sand. Had to roll out the tarp and he backed to edge of drive and dumped there. Eight yards topsoil for daughter, guy went to end of secondary drive but wouldn't cross lawn. So had to take the BX down and move if.
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-19-2019, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Spreading dirt to slowly fill low areas?

Thanks guys. The areas are big enough that I don't feel like trying to cut out the sod, even though maybe that's a better idea.

I may just give this a shot and see how it goes. Pick one area, dump some dirt, spread it around (maybe the dethatcher can help act like a rake), and see what happens. At worst, I have to re-seed.

I can't get large quantities of dirt all at once anyhow (well, not for free, anyways). So I can't really put down several inches at once, even if I wanted to.

Though when I went to the brush dump one time, and the guy loaded my trailer using the front end loader, that was pretty cool, and a lot easier. It did make me a bit concerned about the poor little trailer when all that weight landed, though.
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post #11 of 12 Old 08-19-2019, 12:49 PM
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Re: Spreading dirt to slowly fill low areas?

I put down a lot of dirt in a low spot this past spring with the intent of seeding it later. The area I covered was about 30 x 40 feet, and most of it was covered 1 to 2 inches deep with some spots as much as 4 inches. A few weeks later the old grass was growing up through the dirt before I ever go around to putting down any seed, and now, about 3 months later you can't tell that area apart from the rest of the lawn.

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post #12 of 12 Old 08-27-2019, 01:24 AM
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Re: Spreading dirt to slowly fill low areas?

Spread dirt out thick enough to just cover the grass. Rake it in with a leaf/spring rake. Metal kind works best because the teeth wont just grab the dirt. I do this at work to disapear dirt I get onto a customers lawn from any digging I do. Dirt will sink into the grass. Repeat until you have just a little grass showing, about .5in. Over seed with a rye mix. Rye sprouts quickly and will hold soil and make it green until the fescue grows. At the same time current grass will grow up through the soil.

You can quarter the area you want raised and do areas at a time to save on energy and usable yard area.
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